Severe pollution, environmental destruction leading to ‘health emergency’ now, ecological catastrophe in coming days, are political questions! They call for political solutions!
Delhi has become the most polluted city in the world. As toxic smog envelops Delhi and North and Northwest India, a health emergency is declared, all schools are closed for days. But, stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, the immediate reason for sudden jumping of pollution from poor to severe levelscontinues! Still, Modi government does not find any urgency to convene a meeting of representatives from these states to find solution to this problem. Though 42% of the pollution in Delhi/NCR region is due to the emissions from the ever increasing number of vehicles, 10% of the pollution is due to burning of solid waste, controlling number of private automobiles and increasing public transport facilities, starting solid waste disposal plants in all localities are not even considered urgent steps. The mainstream parties reduce it to a question for mutual mud-slinging, with a view to coming elections!
If this is the condition India’s capital, condition in other areas not different. Pollution level in Mumbai is now ‘very poor’. The scientists have warned that at present level of environmental destruction, as a result of global warming and climate change, most of the coastal areas in Asia, including Mumbai shall be submerged by 2050! Still authorities were in a hurry to cut down 2600 trees of Aarey overnight to avoid a Supreme Court intervention, for constructing a metro car shed! In spite of Gadgil Committee report, two consecutive huge floods in Western Ghats region, climate rhythm changing with 30 days rain pouring down in 3 days devastating farming and hill sides, from Kerala to Maharashtra, no government takes any preventive steps!
Same condition at global level also. In spite of all UN studies and reports from environmental groups that if urgent steps to bring down carbon levels are not brought down, the environmental destruction shall lead to destruction of human species in seven or eight decades, Trump has walked out of Paris agreement and increased production of shell oil! Even those governments who signed Kyoto protocol and Paris agreement are not putting them in to practice. Their priorities are different! Even after severe cyclones have risen 32% in 5years, rate of glaziers’ melting rate in North and South poles have increased 5 times in two decades, every where the ruling powers are not concerned. They make merry speeding up neoliberal/corporate policies and their development perspective based on consumerist lust and accumulation of wealth through all speculative measures.
What do all these show? Severe pollution and environmental destruction leading to ‘health emergency’ now and ecological catastrophe in coming days are political questions, which call for political solutions. This is all the more evident that compared to the past decades though more people are becoming conscious about the impending ecological catastrophe and even school children coming on the streets demanding climate emergency, the ruling powers are not concerned; Amazon forests are burning, stubbles in Indian states get burned still, automobiles increase in the roads, the devastating imperialist led development perspective is still in command, even when an alternative is possible.
If public opinion is to be created and the struggle for the ecological protection is t be intensified, the prevalent practice of confining this question to only intellectual discourses and seminars should be changed. As history has taught us, interpreting the what is happening alone is not sufficient, we have to change the situation drastically and urgently. This is possible only if it is taken as an emergency political question, all forces including political forces concerned with it build broadest platforms for vigorous campaign and struggle to overthrow the hegemonic imperialist system itself, uniting all those engaged in it from different angles to overthrow the rule of capital and realize a new world where humanity re-establish harmony with nature and advance a people oriented egalitarian democratic development paradigm!
Com Kn Ramachandran
Living in Delhi these days is very difficult. As dense toxic smog envelops the whole of North and Northwest India making it the most polluted region in the world, your eyes burn, throats itch and you feel extremely uncomfortable. It can be fatal for children and sick people. Closing schools alone will not save children. You have to save them from this hell created by the ruling system In a way these are nightmarish days. There are reports about faster melting of ice in both poles’ regions forcing ocean levels to rise. Scientists have warned submersion of the Sunderban region in Bangladesh and India, of Mumbai and Kochi like cities by 2050! All these reports reveal how fast the ecological catastrophe is coming nearer! But the BJP leaders are contended by accusing AAP government for it! Kejriwal is appealing not to politicize the issue! The debate not goes beyond petty quarrels, with an eye on elections in Delhi within few months. At least in the West the discourse is more serious, even though not much is taking place to reverse the impending danger which can lead to extinction of human species from this planet!
About three-four decades ago when the debates about a nuclear war threatening end of human species due to nuclear radiation, I have read a scientific fiction which graphically explained how the possibility for nuclear war became a reality in northern hemi-sphere, destroying everything and the humans there! Then the nuclear radiation started moving south. The fiction was written about what happened to the people of a southern Australian city like Sydney or some other city. Announcements in radios talked about what happened to southern tips of Africa and South America and what is happening in Northern Australian people and animals were intensifying tension among all. Everybody used to ask earlier how many weeks for us! As the last day coming nearer fast such questions stopped, strange changes started taking place to individuals! Finally helplessly the last living thing succumbing as the nuclear radiation sweeps through the whole world ending human species along with most others! I don’t know whether that book is available in the stalls still, but it is worth reading now.
In the beginning, even after the nuclear war, there was a general feeling that radiation will not reach us, we shall be safe! Trump to Modi, the imperialists as well as their partners, though make hollow statements about ecology, really laugh at the possibility of ecological catastrophe destroying the human species. But what is really happening today cannot be rejected like a story in a scientific fiction! Though under neoliberal imperialism possibilities for a world war using nuclear weapons has receded, the creeping up of ecological catastrophe is a reality. Climate changes are taking place very fast, ocean water levels along with global warming are getting accelerated. A number of islands in Pacific ocean have submerged with few lakhs of people evacuated. As Stephan Hawkins in his last interview warned, we shall be idiots if this question is not taking seriously as a political question. It should become part of political discourse at all levels.
What is happening is that though this danger is scientifically established, under UN many conferences have taken place and many agreements were put forward like Kyoto Protocol and Paris agreement to bring down the carbon gas level, while Trump has refused to sign them, and others who signed are not implementing them. We have already reached a level of pollution and ecological destruction that we cannot reverse the process to earlier position. But there is possibility to cut down the level of devastation, if the agreements are implemented before we cross 2020. That is why a demand for declaring a climate emergency at global level under UN supervision is put forward. But when this movement got good support with school children also coming out in vast numbers, the corporate forces have institutionalized it to a great extent! And the mainstream political parties and the establishments everywhere are not at all concerned, with many scoffing at it, calling it environmental fundamentalism! All vested interests discourage active discussion on it; they don’t want to stop their capitalist-consumerist lust and mad corporatization!
What is happening in Delhi and North India is a warning. There is a possibility for many of us forgetting it soon once the situation eases. It will be perilous. Impending ecological catastrophe is yet another reason for us to speed up the anti-state, anti-imperialist movement with the orientation of overthrowing them for ever as the ICOR has called for! Internationally. As ICOR and ILPS are joining hands to build the Anti-Fascist, Anti-Imperialist Movement, in our country also we should strengthen unity of all struggling forces to build such a powerful movement capable of over throwing the ruling system in India, and extending this struggle at global level to overthrow the our main enemy, the global imperialist system. We can save the human race from extinction and create an egalitarian social system with all power to the people only in this way. The most urgent task today is to put this central task forward, link all other struggles to it and to create public opinion followed by mobilization of the masses to achieve this central strategist task. Let us strive for broadest possible unity of all struggling forces at all levels for it! Let us dare to think; Dare to struggle; And Dare to Win!
Com Kn Ramachandran